Deputy Sheriff John Middleton

Deputy Sheriff John Middleton

Harlan County Sheriff's Office, Kentucky

End of Watch Monday, August 16, 1943

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John Middleton

Deputy Sheriff John Middleton was shot and killed by a man who was collecting snakes to use at an upcoming church service.

Kentucky law prohibited snake handling at church services. When Deputy Middleton confronted the man about his activities he was shot and killed. The subject who shot him was arrested and charged with murder. Another man who provided the gun was charged an accessory to murder.

Two months later the 30-year-killer, ex-convict turned minister, was convicted of murder and sentenced to life.


  • Age 42
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Sentenced to life

Most Recent Reflection

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Deputy Sheriff Middleton,
On today, the 75th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Harlan County. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.


United States Border Patrol

August 16, 2018

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